Almost every New Year’s Eve, my family stays in. As homebodies, we avoid the crowds and sit on the family room floor instead, flipping through childhood photo albums, slowly pressing together the pieces of a new jigsaw puzzle, and toasting the Ball Drop at 9 pm with Martinelli’s.
But this year, after my brother’s friend raved about the Cirque de Soleil that was visiting San Francisco, he and my parents changed their minds about a low-key day. They snagged tickets for the three of them, plus my guy and me, for an afternoon showing. Their logic? The event would still finish with plenty of time for us to head home to our puzzle!
(In case you were wondering… This was the one we worked on this year!)
So we drove into the city late Wednesday morning. After arriving with over an hour to spare, we walked around near the piers, posed for pictures with the Giants baseball stadium in the background, and eventually made our way back to the big blue and yellow striped tent.
We spent the next two hours gasping, clapping, and cheering as the troupe performed their acts. There were a few more traditional ones, like the extremely flexible ladies contorting their bodies into incredible back flips and the two men gymnastically swinging from the ropes hanging from the ceiling, as well as more modern acts like a girl treating a bicycle as a trapeze swinging in a circle from the top of the tent and a group bouncing on a humongous trampoline suspended in midair.
By the end of the show, our mouths were permanently hanging wide open and we joked about how my brother’s New Year’s Resolution would be to run away and join Cirque de Soleil!
But since most people come up with slightly more traditional resolutions like eating healthier, I decided to start off the month with one of my new favorite breakfasts: these Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins! They’re supremely moist — the exact opposite of the stereotypical crumbly cardboard bran muffins. And just look at all of those temping chocolate morsels! 😉
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY BANANA BRAN MUFFINS
Let’s go over how to make the best healthy banana bran muffins! Just like the majority of my recipes, these are completely homemade and entirely made from scratch.
If you’re a regular here at Amy’s Healthy Baking, you’ll know that I already make healthy goodies all year round, but in honor of New Year’s Resolutions and improving our diets after the holidays (I definitely ate lots of these sugar cookies and this incredible fudge!), I’m starting this month with extra healthy clean eating recipes like this one that contain nothing overly refined or processed.
That’s right! These healthy banana bran muffins are made of 100% whole wheat flour and oat bran. They’re naturally sweetened with mashed banana, molasses, and pure maple syrup. Use the most speckled bananas you can find! The darker, the better. Those contain more natural sweetness and a better banana flavor, but if yours are more yellow than brown, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of maple syrup.
Hint: I also included my favorite gluten-free options in the Notes section of the recipe, if you’d like to make your healthy chocolate chip banana bran muffins gluten-free!
When it comes to bran muffins, I love mine packed with oat bran. I practically treat it like flour, not just another mix-in, so you’ll actually use more oat bran than whole wheat flour in these. However, many muffins with that much bran turn out crumbly and dry… And practically taste like cardboard. But my one simple trick will give you the exact opposite texture.
My secret? Soak the oat bran. Stir it together with the milk, mashed banana, and vanilla, and let that bowl rest while measuring and mixing the rest of the ingredients. That allows the oat bran to soften and makes your healthy chocolate chip banana bran muffins extremely moist and tender.
Hint: The mashed banana actually replaces the eggs, so these easy bran muffins are eggless!
Any type of milk will work, but I love using vanilla unsweetened almond milk because that’s what my family drinks the most. Both of these things mean that your healthy chocolate chip banana bran muffins are naturally dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan!
And the chocolate chips… Who can resist those chocolate chips?? I wanted to pick them off of practically every muffin — they’re my weakness! I use minis because they disperse better and melt more evenly. Plus their smaller size ensures more chocolate in every bite!
I always save some chocolate chips for pressing into the tops just before baking as a cute finishing touch, but be careful when slipping the muffins out of the pan. Don’t completely invert them or you’ll end up with a fist full of melty chocolate and none on the muffins! Although come to think of it, that wouldn’t be so bad after all…
I can already tell it’s going to be a great year… My dad ate two of these Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins for a snack before we even counted down to midnight. Such a sweet compliment!
So happy New Year, and thank you for making the last one such a wonderful year at Amy’s Healthy Baking!
Then when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amys.healthy.baking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy chocolate chip banana bran muffins!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins
- 1 ½ cups (180g) oat bran (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- ⅓ cup (80mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ¾ cup (200g) mashed banana (about 2 medium – and see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (14g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup (60mL) pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup (60mL) molasses
- 3 tbsp (42g) miniature chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat 10 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oat bran, milk, banana, and vanilla extract. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, maple syrup, and molasses until thoroughly combined. When the oat bran mixture is ready, stir it into the butter mixture. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in 2 ½ tablespoons of chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, and lightly press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of the batter. Bake at 350°F for 19-21 minutes, or until the tops are just barely firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Banana Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Apple Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Carrot Raisin Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy “Almond Joy” Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Double Chocolate Bran Muffins
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy muffin recipes and healthy bran muffin recipes!